PHMSA issued this Final Rule (Pipeline Safety: Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform; Docket No. PHMSA-2018-0046; Amdt Nos. 191-29; 192-128) on January 5, 2021, and it has been submitted to the Office of the Federal Register for publication. It is unclear when or if this rule will actually make it to the Federal Register before the next administration, and there is a risk of the rulemaking being sent back to PHMSA if that is the case. The intent of this rule is to ease some regulatory burdens of regulated gas pipelines without compromising safety. A summary of the provisions are included below. If you would like a copy of this pending final rule, contact Jessica Foley.
- PHMSA raised the reporting threshold for incidents that result in property damage to $122,000, consistent with inflation since 1984 when the threshold was set at $50,000.
- PHMSA revised the definition of an Incident under §191.3 Definitions and added a new Appendix A to Part 191-Procedure for Determining Reporting Threshold. The threshold for property damage now includes an inflationary adjustment formula based upon the average Consumer Price Indices for all Urban Consumers (CPI-U) published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics each month.
- PHMSA removed annual reporting requirements for certain master meter, petroleum gas and farm tap systems.
Mechanical Fitting Failure (MFF) Reporting
- PHMSA determined that further collection of MFF reports has limited value and have removed §§ 191.12 and 192.1009, eliminating the requirement for operators to submit MFF reports.
- PHMSA is including a count of MFFs on the Gas Distribution Annual Report form and revision of the Gas Distribution Incident Report form to include information from the MFF report for incidents involving a failure of a mechanical joint.
Standards Incorporated By Reference (IBR)
- ASTM International, ASTM D2513-18a – “Standard Specification for Polyethylene (PE) Gas Pressure Pipe, Tubing, and Fittings” (Aug. 1, 2018) has been IBR approved for Item I, Appendix B to Part 192.
- ASTM F2620-19, “Standard Practice for Heat Fusion Joining of Polyethylene Pipe and Fittings,” approved February 1, 2019, (ASTM F2620) has been IBR approved for §§ 192.281(c) and 192.285(b).
- API Standard 1104, “Welding of Pipelines and Related Facilities,” 20th edition, October 2005, including errata/addendum (July 2007) and errata 2 (2008), (API Std 1104), IBR approved for §§ 192.225(a); 192.227(a); 192.229(b) and (c); 192.241(c); and Item II, Appendix B.
- PHMSA revised §192.740 and §192.1003 to allow flexibility for an operator to choose whether they would maintain their farm taps using the prescriptive approach under §192.740 or include the farm taps in an operator’s DIMP under §192.1003.
- PHMSA exempt farm tap service lines connected to unregulated gathering or production pipelines from annual reporting (§ 191.11), farm tap regulator maintenance (§ 192.740), and DIMP (part 192, subpart P).
External Corrosion Control: Monitoring
- PHMSA revised §192.465(b), “External corrosion control: Monitoring,” to clarify that operators may monitor rectifier stations remotely 6 times per year, but after January 1, 2022, rectifiers and impressed current power sources must be physically inspected annually.
Atmospheric Corrosion: Monitoring
- PHMSA revised §192.481 to extend the frequency of atmospheric corrosion monitoring to 5 years for onshore distribution services lines. However, if atmospheric corrosion is found, the next interval for inspection is 3 years.
- PHMSA revised §192.491(c) to require operators of distribution service lines to retain records of the two most recent atmospheric inspections.
- PHMSA revised §§ 192.1007(b) and 192.1015(b)(2) to clarify that consideration of corrosion risks under DIMP explicitly includes atmospheric corrosion.
- PHMSA allows the use of a 0.40 design factor for PE pipe produced on or after the effective date of the rule with a maximum diameter of 24 inches.
- PHMSA made a few miscellaneous and editorial changes to various sections related to plastic pipe.
Test Requirements for Pressure Vessels
- PHMSA revised §192.153(e)(1) which specifies a prefabricated unit or pressure vessel that is installed after July 13, 2004 is not subject to the strength testing requirements at §192.505(b) provided it has been tested in accordance with §192.153(a) or (b) and with a test factor of at least 1.3 times the intended MAOP, consistent with the hydrostatic pressure test factors in section VIII, division 1 of the ASME BPVC. PHMSA also added a footnote to table 1 to the §192.619(a)(2)(ii) specifying that the factor for establishing the MAOP of a prefabricated unit or pressure vessel installed after July 14, 2004 is 1.3 times the MAOP.
- PHMSA added requirements to inspect pre-tested pressure vessels after being placed at the vessel’s installation location on its support structure in §192.153(e)(3), allowing for those inspections to occur prior to the pressure vessel tie-in on-site with the pipeline.
- PHMSA clarified that any pressure vessel that is temporarily or permanently installed in a pipeline facility must be inspected for damage as described above unless it has been pressure tested on its supports at its installation location.
- PHMSA added §192.153(e)(6) that clarifies testing and inspection requirements for relocating an existing pressure vessel that has previously been used in service for permanent installation at a new location in a pipeline facility.
Welding Process Requirement
- PHMSA revised §192.229(b) to specify that welders or welding operators may not weld with a particular welding process unless they have engaged in welding with that process within the preceding 7 ½ months (formerly 6 months prior to this revision) and the welds were tested and found acceptable in accordance with API Std 1104.
- PHMSA added §192.507(d) to permit pre-testing on steel pipelines operating at a hoop stress less than 30 percent of SMYS and at or above 100 psig.